Note: The Rules & Guidelines for the Yes Test can be found here.
I've been in Vancouver for nearly two full months now (which is longer than anywhere else I've stayed in the past year) and in that time I've managed to live an entire life. I showed up on 48 hours notice and since then I have sold a business, started a business (you'll hear about that eventually), met a whole new group of wonderful friends and said goodbye to them as they moved on, invested in cryptocurrencies, discovered that I am capable of running an 8 mile race, broke a heart and got heartbroken, dogsit and catsit for two separate people, and moved in and out of the same apartment three times. I am exhausted.
So when one of my new friends from the sushi restaurant invited me to spend the afternoon together, I begrudgingly said yes even though the second to last thing I wanted to do was make small talk for a few hours. The last thing I wanted to do was stay in the basement apartment where I was cat sitting a 25lb feline named Steve, because as nice as it was to be the big spoon to a particularly fat cat, I was also allergic to Steve which just made me feel even more sorry for myself.
I met my new friend at a nearby cafe and immediately apologized for being in such a shitty mood. That's the best way to make new friends and keep them, right? To tell them that life sucks right now but I swear, I'm totally happy to be here with you! But not in like a romantic way, even though you put your name in my phone as 'You're Gorgeous and We Should Hang Out." Ten points for honesty, even though I didn't realize that was how you identified yourself because I am that spacey and out of it right now. Is it too early for a drink? It's probably too early for a drink.
It wasn't too early for a drink. We met the Canasian and and went to a local pub, where I commandeered Moscow Mules until I started to feel better. The other guy from the night before showed up, and over the next few hours, the four of us sat and exchanged stories about our lives. It's rare that an organic meeting with strangers can turn into an actual friendship, but I think we all felt that we had stumbled across four people of a similar age, a similar IQ, and a similar (atypical) trajectories. Between us, we had a professional poker player, a recent PhD. graduate in Political Science/Environmental Marine Conservation, a professional in charitable nonprofits, and a wandering & confused professional chef. And yet, we bonded over ridiculous nicknames (Stallion, AIDS, and Colonel Angus) and similar interests (obscure investments, poker, travel, game theory.)
Once we parted ways and I took a long walk back to Steve the cat, I felt the familiar sadness of the last few days creep back up. Everyone talks about all the people you meet while traveling, but they never mention all the loss. In regular life, we spend so much time looking for people to connect with, the people who validate your choices and define the place you live as the place you call home. When the same sorts of people come into your timeline while traveling, everyone knows it's temporary. They're a beacon of light in the fog, but just as quickly as they appear, they fade into the distance when you sail away. They become a taste of home, a taste of the one thing you can't have when you're moving from couch to couch and country to country.
In the first few months, it's exhilarating to collect a series of friends and relationships around the world. Nearly a year in, each goodbye gets harder. I think, maybe, that when the time comes where you just can't say goodbye again, that's when it's time to stay put and call wherever you are home. I'm getting close to that point. I can feel it coming. The only question is, where will I be when it's time to stop moving?